Third party officeholders in the United States

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Third-party officeholders in the United States have been rare during the country's existence. Since 1856, the United States has had two major political parties: The Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The list below includes anyone who, while holding office as a U.S. Senator since the beginning of the Reconstruction era, was an independent or was affiliated with a third party. Linked below are similar lists of U.S. Representatives, governors, and state legislators.

As of 2019, there are two independent U.S. Senators: Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.[1]

U.S. Senators[edit]

Senator State Electoral history Years in office
JSFowler.jpg
Joseph S. Fowler
Tennessee Elected as an Unconditional Unionist in 1866, became a Republican by 1867 1866–1871
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David T. Patterson
Tennessee Elected as a Unionist in 1866, became a Republican by 1867 1866–1869
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Charles Sumner
Massachusetts Elected as Free Soil Democratic in 1851, became a Republican in 1855, then became a Liberal Republican in 1872 1851–1874
Morgan C. Hamilton - Brady-Handy.jpg
Morgan C. Hamilton
Texas Switched from Republican to Liberal Republican in 1872, switched back to Republican in 1875 1870–1877
Orris S. Ferry - Brady-Handy.jpg
Orris S. Ferry
Connecticut Elected as a Liberal Republican in 1872 1867–1875
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Newton Booth
California Elected as an Anti-Monopolist, served as an Ind. Republican 1875–1881
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David Davis
Illinois Elected as an Independent 1877–1883
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William Mahone
Virginia Elected as a Readjuster 1881–1887
Harrison H. Riddleberger - Brady-Handy.jpg
Harrison H. Riddleberger
Virginia Elected as a Readjuster 1883–1889
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William A. Peffer
Kansas Elected as a Populist 1891–1897
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Marion Butler
North Carolina Elected as a Populist 1895–1901
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James H. Kyle
South Dakota Elected as a Populist 1891–1901
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William V. Allen
Nebraska Elected as a Populist 1893–1901
William M. Stewart - Brady-Handy.jpg
William M. Stewart
Nevada Switched from Republican to Silver in 1893, then back to Republican in 1901 1887–1905
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John P. Jones
Nevada Switched from Republican to Silver in 1895, then back to Republican in 1901 1873–1903
Lee Mantle U.S. Senator from Montana (1895) by James Presley Ball (Detail).jpg
Lee Mantle
Montana Switched from Republican to Silver Republican in 1896 1895–1899
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Richard F. Pettigrew
South Dakota Switched from Republican to Silver Republican in 1896 1889–1901
Frank Jenne Cannon.jpg
Frank J. Cannon
Utah Switched from Republican to Silver Republican in 1896 1896–1899
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Fred Dubois
Idaho Switched from Republican to Silver Republican in 1896 1891–1897
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Henry Moore Teller
Colorado Switched from Republican to Silver Republican in 1896, then to Democratic in 1903 1876–1909
William Alexander Harris.jpg
William A. Harris
Kansas Elected as a Populist 1897–1903
Henry Heitfeld (senator).jpg
Henry Heitfeld
Idaho Elected as a Populist 1897–1903
Joseph M. Dixon.jpg
Joseph M. Dixon
Montana Switched from Republican to Progressive in 1912 1907–1913
MilesPoindexter.jpg
Miles Poindexter
Washington Switched from Republican to Progressive in 1912, switched back to Republican in 1915 1911–1923
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Henrik Shipstead
Minnesota Elected as Farmer-Labor, switched to Republican in 1940 1923–1947
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Magnus Johnson
Minnesota Elected as Farmer-Labor 1923–1925
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Robert M. La Follette
Wisconsin Switched from Republican to Progressive in 1934, then back to Republican in 1946 1925–1947
Elmer Austin Benson.jpg
Elmer Austin Benson
Minnesota Elected as Farmer-Labor 1935–1936
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George W. Norris
Nebraska Switched from Republican to Independent in 1936 1913–1943
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Ernest Lundeen
Minnesota Elected as Farmer-Labor 1937–1940
John E. Miller.jpg
John E. Miller
Arkansas Elected as an Independent, served as Democratic 1937–1941
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Wayne Morse
Oregon Switched from Republican to Independent in 1953, then to Democratic in 1955. 1945–1969
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Harry F. Byrd Jr.
Virginia Switched from Democratic to Independent in 1970 1965–1983
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James L. Buckley
New York Elected as a Conservative, lost re-election as a Republican in 1976 1971–1977
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Bob Smith
New Hampshire Switched from Republican to Independent in 1999 but switched back to Republican in 2000 1990–2003
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Jim Jeffords
Vermont Switched from Republican to Independent in 2001 1989–2007
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Dean Barkley
Minnesota Appointed for Independence Party of Minnesota 2002–2003
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Joe Lieberman
Connecticut Re-elected on the Connecticut for Lieberman ticket after losing the 2006 Democratic nomination. 1989–2013
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Bernie Sanders
Vermont Elected as an Independent, switched to Democratic in 2015 but switched again back to Independent in 2016[2] 2007–Present
Angus King, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
Angus King
Maine Elected as an Independent 2013–Present

U.S. Representatives[edit]

Governors[edit]

State legislators[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "O'Rourke Claims He May Not Have to Work With the GOP as President Because Dems Will Win at All Levels in 2020". IJR. June 30, 2019.
  2. ^ "Bernie Sanders Won't Become a Democrat, Will Run as an Independent in 2018". Retrieved 26 October 2017.